Israel launches ‘green pass’ so vaccinated people can access ‘non-essential’ businesses
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TEL AVIV, Israel, February 11, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — Israel’s health department has released an official app that will allow those who are vaccinated — around 40% of the population so far — to obtain a so-called “green pass” to gain access to entertainment and leisure facilities.
Originally, if one opted not to take the vaccine, COVID tests were to be made readily available which, if returning a negative result within 72 hours, would have given the individual a similar “green pass” which they could upload to the app on their device, granting the same privileges.
Now, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein is drawing a harder line in the sand.
He admitted that while it “is quite clear that there are vital areas where people cannot be prevented from entering regardless of the vaccine,” nevertheless “there are quite a few things that will open soon,” referring to so-called “non-essential” businesses.
Believing that maintaining a testing regimen for unvaccinated people will become too much of a burden on the system, Edelstein declared: “We are not going to cause the labs to collapse because of those who did not find the time to get vaccinated and will want to be tested instead.” As such, the “green pass” will not be given to unvaccinated people, regardless of a negative COVID test result.
He explained, “This is why I highly recommend people who want to enjoy hotels, culture, gyms — to go and get vaccinated to access these places freely.”
The Israeli government website notes that vaccine certificates will be made available to those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinated individuals will have to apply for the certificate, as it is not distributed automatically. A “control center” will be established to deal with requests for certificates and “green pass” cards.
The certificates, which must be presented alongside an identification document to be valid, do not grant individuals unlimited freedoms, but rather offer 6 months of “benefits.” The benefits include the aforementioned access to “non-essential” businesses, as well as not being required to self-isolate if identified as a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID, and not having to self-isolate following a return from a what the government calls a “red location.”
The government added that certificate holders will be “eligible for relaxed restrictions in destinations around the world.”
Despite being awarded the temporary certificates, vaccine pass holders will still have to “wear a mask in public settings and practice social distancing, i. e. keeping 2 meters from people and follow restrictions on gathering.”
Further vaccination incentive programs were discussed by the government, including allowing medical insurers to give their staff a cash bonus for convincing people to take the vaccine.
Givatayim, a city just east of Tel Aviv, will offer a municipal tax deduction to families that take the vaccine.
Israel is joined by a slew of international governments developing vaccine recording initiatives that reward people who take the vaccine, but punish those who reject or oppose it.
Sweden recently proposed making special travel allowances for those who receive two doses of a COVID vaccine, Health Minister Lena Hallengren said. Swedish residents who have received the vaccine are already eligible for a certificate proving their inoculation, but the new plan is to develop a “digital vaccination certificate” to be easily accessed, affording holders the ability to “travel abroad on holiday or to meet a loved one.”
In the U.K., despite cabinet ministers originally announcing that vaccine “passports” were “not being planned,” Nadhim Zahawi, the minister responsible for the U.K.’s vaccine rollout, said last month that the government is “looking at the technology,” and is now funding a trial of COVID-19 vaccination “passports.”
President Joe Biden has also made moves towards implementing vaccine “passports” in his country. In his executive order “Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and
International Travel,” one of the slate of orders signed during his first day in office, Biden ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to “assess the feasibility of linking COVID-19 vaccination to International Certificates of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) and producing electronic versions of ICVPs.”
The order made no mention of what sanctions might be imposed, if any, on those who would not qualify by refusing to receive the jab.
In Israel, meanwhile, legislation is being considered that would give employers the right to refuse unvaccinated people entry into the workplace. It would also mandate that school teachers receive the jab, Health Minister Yuli Edelstein confirmed, according to a report by The Jerusalem Post.
LifeSiteNews has produced an extensive COVID-19 vaccines resources page. View it here.